Letters to the Editor for Aug. 10

Emotions dictate policies

Years ago we lived through the horrors of the 9/11 attacks in New York and Washington, D.C. Most Americans at that time were willing to do anything and everything necessary to prevent a similar incident.

One profound and direct effect of those attacks was the creation of the Patriot Act. The intention of the Patriot Act was to permit highly-trained people access to any and all forms of personal information in order to uncover plots to create another attack like 9/11. The time surrounding 9/11 was filled with emotional turmoil, fear and anger for many Americans. Those emotions may have clouded our thought process when we permitted this piece of legislation to pass so overwhelmingly.

We have now been safe from a similar attack for more than a decade and many are questioning the intent and real-time function of the Patriot Act, particularly with all the media coverage of Edward Snowden, the “traitor” from the NSA. As Mr. Mays (Data Might Have Helped 8/3 issue) correctly stated, the Boston Marathon bombers were American citizens. Imagine what may have occurred had we been listening to them a month before the marathon.

I am fortunate enough not to do or say anything which the NSA might find disconcerting. In fact, they are more than welcome to listen or read anything I do or say. I wonder what others are doing which they find such a need to protect?

We live in a different world in 2013. Don’t think for a minute your personal information is safe from intruders with or without the Patriot Act. It just isn’t so.

Steve Kaplan

Hood River

A thankless duty

Those who oppose Mayor Arthur Babitz or other members of the city council should take full opportunity to vote for people more to their liking at the next election. But there should be no question that whomever we elect has a duty to us, however thankless it may be, for setting policy and seeing that it is executed by city employees. If that were not the case then there would be little point in voting at all.

Tad McGeer

Hood River

Price behind guns

“Price for a Life” in the Aug. 3 paper was an intense glimpse into some of the problems with our neighboring country to the south.

Thankfully Jose Villa is safe and home in the USA. When I read about the banditos brandishing AK 47s in the back of the pickup and forcing Jose to pull over it made me wonder what would happen on a rural interstate in the western United States if they did the same. They likely would be confronted by an armed US citizen with a more lethal and accurate weapon than a worn out AK 47.

Seems to me that in Mexico, where a private citizen cannot bring a weapon out of the home and only law enforcement (which may or may not be on the take), drug cartels and kidnappers have guns, that gun control isn’t really keeping all the innocent people safe.

Jeff McNerney

Hood River

Celilo Center appreciated

Dear Celilo Cancer Center: From myself in particular, and from the community in general, we stand in awe and wonder at your brilliant physicians and staff who mend and extend our most precious possessions, our lives.

Bob Nippolt

Hood River

Learn about health centers

This week (Aug.11-17) is National Health Center Week, and the Gorge should be proud to have its own community health center — with sites in Hood River and The Dalles, serving members of Hood River, Wasco, Skamania and Klickitat Counties. Like other federally-supported health centers, One Community Health (formerly known as La Clinica del Cariño) makes the costs of care affordable, with the quality of care as good as any one finds in private practices – and studies prove it. You get treated with dignity and respect by a team of highly trained, caring professionals focused on preventing costly illness and disease before they happen. That means better health, fewer hospital ER visits, and consumers, taxpayers, and governments save money.

Health centers are helping to transform health care delivery through primary care and prevention, one patient at a time. Health centers are rooted in local communities, with community board members who volunteer their time and energy. We depend on local support to thrive. Please support your local health center, visit our website www.onecommunityhealth.org, send us any questions (through rsynder@onecommunityhealth.org) and learn for yourself why health centers are such a good prescription for our nation’s health.

John Jessup, RN, Chair, Board of Directors, One Community Health and 12 fellow Board members

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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